Downsizing Tips to Minimize Clutter & Simplify

The current downsizing trend has encouraged people of all ages to cut out the clutter and simplify their lives. For seniors, getting rid of unwanted stuff and moving into a smaller space can do wonders to refocus and clear the mind — and a little less yard work is always welcome! But downsizing can be tricky, especially when you’ve spent your life accumulating possessions. Try following a few of these tips to keep your downsizing process positive and efficient. While you may not be able to complete your downsize yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can get the process started.

Choosing a Place to Call Home

When you’ve lived in the same place for decades, choosing a new home is a very big deal, but don’t rush into it. To narrow down your choices, make a list of features that are important to you, like location, size, yard space, amenities, and accessibility. It will be much easier for you or your real estate agent to pinpoint the perfect home when you know exactly what you’re looking for and how much you can afford. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the way the market has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in your area.

If apartment or condo living sounds like your cup of tea, consider independent living or assisted living communities. Independent living communities offer private housing to people over 55 and provide special amenities such as housekeeping, maintenance, and recreational opportunities. Although these communities are great for people who want to maintain a simple and independent life, they may not work for those who need extra care. Assisted living facilities, on the other hand, provide additional services like medication management, bathing, dressing, and cooking assistance (assisted living averages $3,150 a month in Florida). If you’re stuck deciding between the two, it’s important to spend some time really learning about the differences so you can make an informed decision.

Measure Your New Space and Make Needed Repairs

Moving into a small space means doing some major decluttering. Before you start, however, measure your new space or obtain a floor plan so you can determine exactly how much of your stuff will fit. For example, if you’re downsizing to a smaller home that’s between 500 and 800 square feet, then you’ll need to pay careful attention to what you decide to take with you and what you need to let go. Take advantage of smartphone apps designed for room layout planning. Not only will this help you choose the right furniture and décor for your new home, but it will also ensure your new storage spaces will fit everything you intend to keep.

As you prepare to move, you may need to make repairs to your new home to ensure you’re safe and comfortable. For example, drafty windows may need to be replaced which means hiring window glass repair services. These services typically cost between $170 and $375 depending on the type of window and extent of damage.

Systemize Your Decluttering Process

Decluttering is easier with a plan. You can follow popular decluttering techniques like the KonMari Method or the Minimalist Game, or you can come up with your own. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start in a room that has few sentimental items, like a guest room or laundry room, and work your way up to more challenging spaces. Take pictures of items that you’d like to remember but don’t want to keep anymore. Also, Green Home Gnome recommends digitizing all of your photos and documents to cut back on paper clutter.

Ask for Support

Decluttering can be an emotional process. Ask a close friend or family member to support you as you process memories and make tough decisions. Your decluttering partner will help you stay focused and encourage you to take breaks, so you can avoid getting overwhelmed and exhausted. You may even be able to hand off some of your unwanted items to them!

Reduce Moving Stress

Unfortunately, finding a home and decluttering your possessions is not the end of the hard work. Be ready for moving day by chipping away at a moving checklist over a few weeks. One of the most important jobs you’ll have is finding the right moving company. If you have a dog, make sure you have a plan to keep them safe on the day of the move. Dogs can act out of character when they’re anxious, so avoid mishaps by keeping your furry friend comfortable in a quiet room or a secure dog crate.

Upon moving out of the family home, many seniors experience relocation stress syndrome — a condition characterized by anxiety, depression, and disorientation. You can avoid this problem by choosing a living arrangement that fits your personal lifestyle and preferences. Don’t allow someone else to make this decision for you. When you arrive in your new home, try to get your stuff set up as quickly as possible to establish a sense of familiarity and comfort.

Moving into a new home is a big change, but it’s also an opportunity to refocus your life and embrace your passions. Think about the move as a new phase in your life. Try to look forward to this refreshing transition and appreciate how much simpler your life will be with less clutter. With the current COVID-19 outbreak forcing most of us to stay indoors, it may take some time before you’re able to complete your downsize, but better days are surely ahead.

Additional Resources

5 Must-Have Home Modifications for Seniors Aging in Place

Boomers And Seniors Finding Great Benefits From Smart Home Technology

9 Ways to Prevent Falling at Home

Rely on Atlantic In-Home Care to connect you with compassionate caregivers whether you’re looking for specialized care or assistance with daily activities such as cooking, housekeeping, and transportation. For a free home assessment, call (772) 462-6707 or fill out this contact form.

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